Monday, December 03, 2012

The Letter, Part 3, Continued 2

I couldn't post all weekend because we were without power.  Ah, the country life!  But I am back now with your next segment. The next section of 500 Days is about a new character, French Kate.  She's the madame at the brothel where Amy has ended up.  This section introduces her and gives her background information.  Hope you enjoy!

Catherine’s Fortune

I don’t know how I got the name French Kate.  But folks who know me call my Kate.  My real name is Catherine LeConte, but no one here in Pithole knows this except for Ben.  I go by Kate Granger or French Kate for short.  This here is my house and we do real good business.  Ben keeps the girls in order and the men from getting too rowdy.  Ben doesn't always play it straight.  He's known for getting mixed up in a brawl, for coming home with a bloody lip, or for gambling with the wrong sorts.  I can’t tell you how many times someone has come knocking on our door with a shotgun in the middle of the night.  No law can keep him from doing wrong.  Ben’s no fool though; he doesn’t try and get himself killed.   And the second he walks through the door and sees me, his eyes light up.  I've always had that giant under my thumb. 

Just under a fortnight ago we were getting low on staff.  Girls here get tired of the business after a few months and they run off.  There are a few tough ones, who stay, and there are few more who are scared to leave for fear of Ben or me, but our numbers are always going down.  And in a town like this where there are fifty men to one woman, staff is hard to come by.  So, Ben came up with this idea.  He's real good with ideas.  He put the ad in the Buffalo paper advertising a “hotel” we are running where we needed fine young girls who could work as part of our staff.  I got a real belly laugh when I read it.  Told him he ought to get himself a job at the Pihole Register as a reporter!  Told him he could give old Crocus a run for his money. I didn’t expect much from it, but since he sent it out we’ve gotten half a dozen girls rolling in from all over New York.  Most are young and inexperienced and real surprised when they walk through the door.  But, it don’t take long to turn them around.  A day or two locked up.  A good fuck or two by Ben and a few threats that we are gonna find their families and kill them and they open up their legs to the public. 

When this last girl got off the train though I could see she was green as a sapling, probably never even kissed a man.  I knew right away she'd be hard to break.  But, I got my ways.  So do Ben.  It's been 10 days and she's still holding out.  Tomorrow, I'll tell Ben to break her in harder, maybe bring in a gun or a knife.  Scare the fuck into her. I'm tired of hearing her moaning and crying above my bed in the attic and we let her go much longer she’s gonna be too weak to fuck anyone for a week.

I wasn't always a Madame.  I used to live in an elegant house away from dust and mud.  I wore the finest gowns and was waited on by a full staff.  My husband, Confederate General LeConte, was well respected in New Orleans.  And he adored me each and every day he was alive.  Damn that war.  What was I supposed to do, stay in that house alone after he died?  Live off that measly pension they sent me?  Graciously accept the note: Thank you ma'am.  Your husband was a fine citizen of the United States of America.  I don't give a damn about this country.  I had myself a fine life until this country took it all away from me.  So, what was I to do?  Sit and wait?  Learn a trade?  I've always been good with men.  Since I was a little girl, I could charm all of my father's friends.  The boys at school would follow me around like a pack of starving dogs.  Prostitution came naturally to me.  I liked the power I held over those men.  Touch them the right way and they look at you like you were a god. 

I started pulling tricks in New Orleans, but soon realized my old reputation would get in the way of who I wanted to become so I headed East.  I first met Ben in New York.  He was working as part of a traveling gymnastics show as the strong man and he came to the house I was working looking for a good fuck.  I'll never forget the first time he saw me.  He jaw just about dropped looking at me naked before him.  Right then, I knew I had him under my thumb for as long as I needed him.  Within a few months we had both settled in Pithole and set up shop.  He had passed through this town as part of his gymnastic act a few months before and he talked about the ratios of men to women.  “It’ll be a racket!” He said grinning his big, stupid smile.  “Ain’t enough women to fuck in that town.” He became my business partner.  I'm tough and have no problem keeping those girls in line but when it comes to the angry johns, and the local business partners who want to swing deals, it helps to have Ben's six and a half foot frame looming next to me.  This town is like a fountain of money.  Those boys hit oil, get cash, and give it right to me.  They drink it away at my bar, they fuck it away with my girls and I just smile and take their money.

Once, a few years ago, I got a letter from someone in my old life.  Ms. LeMurre, was an old neighbor and a dear friend in New Orleans.  Her husband was also a confederate general, so we spent countless hours together during the war.  But, when the war ended and her husband came home, and mine did not, I couldn't stand her.  I hated that her husband had lived when mine had died.  What’s worse is she never even knocked on my door to offer condolences.  She'd just peek through her window curtains every once in a while to see first, the furniture being taken away, then the servants being let go.  Or, finally, the men I begin to let in as I learned my new trade.  I’ll give her this, she never did call the cops on me.  She just kept those curtains closed tight once she knew what was going on.

That’s why when the letter arrived, I didn't bother opening it.  But even the existence of that letter filled me with rage.  Those first few months before I knew what to do came rushing back to me in a terrible wave.  For the first time in years I felt the loss and loneliness washing over me and I hated her even more for that.  I remembered my old life.  It was in that rage that I threw the letter down in the muddy street.  It was undoubtedly just a letter of regret.  One where she finally pours out her heart about how she'd wished she been there to help me in my time of need.  How, if only she had, my life wouldn't have taken this terrible turn.  How she hopes now she can become my friend again and save me.

Well, Ms. LeMurre, my fortune ain’t as bad as you make it out.  I got more power in Pithole then you'd ever wish for.  My girls are the best in town because I train them that way.  They know how to make men beg for more.  Power men come to our town just to fuck my girls.  I don't need your god damned pity.  How do you like being face down in the mud without a hope? 

“Ben” I shout, still feeling the rage in my cheeks.  “Go visit the girl.  It’s time to break her in the hard way. Bring in a shotgun, knife, whatever you think will work.  Threaten her like you did that last one – threaten to find her family and kill them.”

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